The vacation to-do list. Make that the not-to-do list. If you're going to take a break, it needs to be thorough and, some would suggest, exhaustive.
Travel plans should include:
No fireworks other than the professional displays.
No, this is not a trip in Pinellas. We will be in upstate New York for Independence Day and personal fireworks are prohibited there. You can't even pretend to have a crow problem. At least I thought the fireworks were illegal until I watched all the nonprofessionals igniting contraband fireworks a few years back. Almost as impressive as the simulation of the War of 1812 that seems to take place above west Pasco each year.
No local politics. That is the definition of vacation. The campaigns are heating up with the primary election eight weeks and two days away. Time for a break from the promises and finger-pointing.
No write-ins. The only writing planned for the coming days will be signing a credit card slip.
No Obama, Clinton, McCain nor Bush. No Republicans. No Democrats. No independents. No vice presidential candidates. No Bunting. No Cox. No unions. No administrators. No teachers (except the one sitting shotgun.)
No shortage of commentary. Guest columnists have plenty to say.
No smoking. Even if Tobacco Road is part of the trip.
No Confederate flags.
No talk of buy-outs. Unless it's bribing/rewarding children for good behavior. Likewise, no chat of early retirements unless it's getting the niece to bed at a reasonable hour.
No offshore drilling. Casting lures on a lake doesn't count.
No flip-flops. Unless they are on the feet or come during the debate over the dinner entree.
No fear of tomatoes. A summer staple along with corn on the cob. If only the crops ripened in early July instead of August.
No double-dippers. Exceptions made at the ice cream stand. No counting of the calories. It is a vacation, after all.
No break from budget discussions. One city we will visit is reassessing all parcels to help balance its government budget, fighting over renovations to a municipal sports facility and just considered a capital campaign for school construction.
No Rays. We couldn't buy advance tickets to next week's appearance at Yankee Stadium. You think ticket sales for Rays games will reach 4-million in Tropicana Field's final year of existence?
No, me neither.
No NFL football. Buffalo Bills training camp starts 10 days after our return to work.
No fear of hurricanes.
No time to get cocky. The hurricane anxiety did hit on a past vacation. We were in western New York when Andrew hit Florida and our flight home was canceled.
No Internet. There is no laptop in the vehicle and the offspring's grandparents are not computer savvy.
No reading of the blog posts. Kind of hard to do without the Internet. The anonymous insults will have to go unappreciated.
No roller coasters. (I think.) Sitting in a cramped car with a lap bar squeezing the extra-long legs sounds too much like driving.
No road rage. Despite five days in the vehicle, the only anticipated bickering is from the offspring in the rear seat.
No physical exertion. Yours truly broke a rib playing, of all things, kickball the last time there was a day off during the work week. Funny how much damage the shoulder of a 15-year-old athlete can do to the rib cage of a nearly 50-year-old former athlete when they collide at third base.
No shortage of jokes at my expense after said mishap.
No nonfiction. Michael Crichton and John Updike are helping to recharge the batteries.
No cheap whiskey. A single malt is making the trip.
No Ringo Starr, the guy who recorded No No Song in 1974. We are out of town while the Fab Four's drummer is in Clearwater.
No longer at Sports Illustrated — the columnist from whom I borrowed this idea.
No money left after paying $4 a gallon of gasoline for a projected 2,724-mile trip .
No need to send you a postcard. This will have to suffice.